Monthly Archives: March 2012

Crunchy pappardelle

March 22, 2012

Crunchy pappardelle

Page 252,  Ottolenghi

Mmmm, a platter of pasta on a chilly spring night is just the thing. Especially if it is pasta with broccoli and sauteed mushrooms in a creamy wine sauce with lemon zest and garlic and topped with crispy fried breadcrumbs. We had to physically restrain ourselves from taking this whole platter of pasta goodness DOWN.  Delish.

Also? Please note the amazing white wine next to the pasta. I *love* recipes that call for wine, because you can’t open a bottle and not have a glass. And this white wine was not just a regular bottle of cooking wine, but a bottle that we purchased at the Coop after trying it at the Chef’s Table. It is a white burgandy (Macon Villages Vielles Vignes White Burgandy Wine for those that want to run right out and try it — and that should be all of you, FYI) and both of us fell in love with it. You will too. It is amazing. It’s been a while since I discovered a new wine that I love and this makes me very, very happy.

Our new tablecloth also makes me very, very happy. It is IKEA fabric that I put a few hems into and it has all of the colors of the fiestaware we use. In a geometric flower pattern. Yep. Happy.

Go here for the recipe http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2007/apr/14/foodanddrink.shopping2 and here for the wine http://www.sandcreekwine.com/index.php?p=product&id=1396&parent=97

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Green bean salad with mustard seeds

March 21, 2012

Green bean salad with mustard seeds

Page 196, Ottolenghi

Ottolenghi is magic with simple ingredients. This was such an easy dish — blanched green beans, snow peas, green peas, and some herbs and aromatics was about the sum total. But what amazing flavors! The mustard seeds and coriander were popped in oil which then made up the dressing for the beans and peas. It was simple and had such depth of flavor – a bit of a nod to Indian spicing, but with a lemon zest and garlic twist.  A perfect spring salad to eat out of our new Le Creuset pottery dish (LOVE!) while watching an old season of Amazing Race (also strangely LOVE!).

Serves 4

1 1/4 cups green beans, trimmed
2 1/4 cups snow peas, trimmed
1 3/4 cups green peas (fresh or frozen)
2 tsp coriander seeds, roughly crushed with a mortar and pestle
1 tsp mustard seeds
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp nigella seeds
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1 mild fresh red chile, seeded and finely diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tbsp chopped tarragon ( I skipped the tarragon since we didn’t have it on hand)
coarse sea salt
1 cup baby chard leaves (optional)

Fill a medium saucepan with cold water and bring to the boil. Blanch the green beans for 4 minutes, then immediately lift them out of the pan and into iced water to refresh. Drain and dry.

Bring a fresh pan of water to a boil and blanch the snow peas for 1 minute only. Refresh, drain and dry. Use the same boiling water to blanch the peas for 20 seconds. Refresh, drain and dry. Combine the beans, snow peas and peas in a large mixing bowl.

Put the coriander seeds, mustard seeds and oil in a small saucepan and heat up. When the seeds begin to pop, pour the contents of the pan over the beans and peas. Toss together, then add the nigella seeds, red onion, chile, garlic, lemon zest and tarragon. Mix well and season with salt to taste.

Just before serving, gently fold the chard leaves, if using, in with the beans and peas, and spoon the salad onto plates or into bowls.


 

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Vegetables with two mayonnaises

March 18, 2012

Vegetables with two mayonnaises

Page 306, Henry

 

A perfect Sunday afternoon involves good food, cocktails, and lounging on the deck. I got all three today! And made my very first homemade mayonnaise! Two different kinds, as a matter of fact. And neither of them broke! Seems like a very successful first attempt- and a  ridiculously easy (and useful!) skill now under my belt. The dill mayonnaise lost out to the garlic/lemon mayo for our favorite, but no one was a loser this afternoon. Two mayos with dipping fun including  blanched green beans, endive, snow peas, baby potatoes, and some smoked chicken — all served with a champagne cocktail made by my girl.  Almost heaven…… 

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Sweet potato wedges with lemongrass crème fraîche

March 16, 2012

Sweet potato wedges with lemongrass crème fraîche

Page 26, Ottolenghi

 

Oh glory of glories! The first dinner outside on the back deck tonight. And a delicious spring dinner it was — bbq tofu sandwiches (with tofu baked in cowboy sauce from Jimmy Jack’s Rib Shack) and sweet potatoe wedges with lemongrass crème fraîche. Yum!  I was not sold on the idea of a citrus-y creamy sauce to go with these baked sweet potato fries, but I am a believer now. The tangy contrast was perfect for the sweetness of the fries. If you don’t have leftover crème fraîche hanging around from making the smoky frittata earlier in the week, you could easily switch it out for sour cream or greek yogurt and I think this would be equally yummalicious.

 

Sweet Potato Wedges with lemongrass crème fraîche

Adapted from Plenty, Yotam Ottolenghi

3 medium sweet potatoes (about 2 lbs total)
4 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 cup cilantro leaves

Lemongrass sauce:
1/2 lemongrass stalk
3/4 cup crème fraîche
grated zest and juice of one lime
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1/2 tsp fine sea salt

Preheat oven to 4oo degrees. Wash sweet potatoes, but don’t peel them.  Cut each lengthwise in half, half again into quarters and then one more time so you have 8 long wedges from each potato. ( I made much smaller fries so they would cook more quickly!)

Toss the potatoes in a bowl with olive oil, coriander and salt, and spread on baking sheet. Roast for 25 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender and slightly caramelized.

Meanwhile, make the dipping sauce. Very finely chop the lemongrass- I used a processor for this and the ginger. Then whisk with all of the other ingredients and serve.

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Smoky frittata

March 14, 2012

Smoky frittata

Page 96, Ottolenghi

Cauliflower cake is what made me fall in love with Ottolenghi’s recipes and led to this lovely Year of Plenty project. I found it on Smitten Kitchen and fell in love with it’s savory goodness. You should definitely check the recipe out here http://smittenkitchen.com/2010/10/cauliflower-and-parmesan-cake/ . Well, tonight was a return to cauliflower goodness with Mr. Ottolenghi’s Smoky Frittata, a cauliflower and smoked mozzerella dish that uses crème fraîche in all the right ways (though I am not sure that there is a *wrong* way to use crème fraîche!).  Delicious and smoky from both the smoked mozzerella and smoked paprika, I loved this frittata, but the cauliflower cake will always have my heart.

Smoky Frittata

adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi

1 small cauliflower, cut into medium florets

6 eggs

4 tbsp crème fraîche

2 tbsp dijon mustard

2 tsp sweet smoked paprika

3 tbsp chives, finely chopped

5 oz. smoked mozzarella

2 oz. strong cheddar

salt and pepper

2 tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Simmer the cauliflower in a large plan of salted boiling water for only 4-5 minutes, until partially cooked. Drain and dry.

Add the eggs to a medium bowl along with the crème fraiche, mustard and paprika. Mix until thoroughly combined and season generously with salt and pepper. Mix in chives and ¾ of the cheese. 

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Cook until the cauliflower starts to turn golden brown.

Pour the egg mixture over the cauliflower and move the cauliflower around to make sure the eggs are incorporated evenly. Top with the remaining cheese and place the pan in the preheated oven. Bake until the eggs are set around 15 minutes. I browned the top quickly under a broiler.

Let cool for a few minutes, slice and serve.

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Green couscous

March 13, 2012

Green couscous

Page 255, Ottolenghi

Yotam Ottolenghi has a way with herbs and vegetables, my friends. Every time I return to a recipe in his book that seems just too simple to really be great, I am bowled over again. He has a superb ability to put vegetables and grains and herbs together in ways that look simple and taste amazingly complex. And so it was again this evening whe I made his Green Coucous as a side to our grilled fish and our homemade sweet potato fries.  The whole wheat couscous was radically transfigured by a paste of 5 fresh herbs and some olive oil. Well, according to the recipe, you were to use 6 tbsp of olive oil, but I am far enough into this project to know that you should *always* start with half of the oil that Mr. Ottolenghi recommends. And half was all that it took for this recipe.  Added to that fabulous herbed couscous was some carmelized onion, some fresh arugula, and BOOM – a side dish delicious enough to compete with sweet potato fries.

 

 

Green Couscous
Adapted from “Plenty” by Yotam Ottolenghi
(Serves 4)

1 cup couscous
3/4 cup boiling water or vegetable stock
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cumin

Herb Paste:
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1 cup chopped cilantro
2 Tbsp chopped tarragon
2 Tbsp chopped dill
2 Tbsp chopped mint
6 Tbsp olive oil (seriously? 6? I used three and it was Plenty indeed)

3 green onions, finely sliced
1 fresh green chile, finely chopped
1 1/4 cup arugula leaves, chopped

Place the couscous in a large bowl and cover with the boiling water or stock. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, fry the onion in the olive oil on medium heat until golden and completely soft. Add the salt and cumin and mix well. Leave to cool slightly.

To make the herb paste. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blitz until smooth.

Add the herb paste to the couscous and mix everything together well with a fork to fluff it up. Now add the cooked onion, green onions, green chile and arugula and gently mix. Serve at room temperature.

 

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Turkish lamb kofta with cherries and yogurt

March 11, 2012

Turkish lamb kofta with cherries and yogurt

Page 183, Henry

One of the things that B is most excited about for this Year of Plenty is the lamb, people. She *loves* lamb. And I must agree that cooking lamb purchased at the Coop which was slaughtered that day after being bought  from a farmer just south of our little town feels very different than mass meat consumption. This year of Plenty means cooking meat in ways that I have not done for 20ish years.  And I have to admit that I am loving it. The smell of lamb meatballs heavily spiced with cinnamon, cumin, and cloves while frying on my stove this evening was near heavenly. As someone who lived a vegetarian life for many years, there is still something magical about the smell of frying meat, be it lamb or be it bacon. Add those meatballs to an aromatic (and anti-oxidant) sauce of dried and  fresh cherries ( from our tree and frozen last July for just such a day) blended with cinnamon and onions, and you have a meal that is worthy of a Daylight Savings Time celebration. And oh how I adore Daylight Savings Time. It is one of my own personal holidays as it symbolizes (in a totally artificial and constructed manner, I realize) the returning of the light.  Longer days = more time for gardening and walking and being outside after work and that makes me joyful.

So those lovely lamb meatballs in a cherry sauce? Both celebratory AND delicious. They were served drizzled with yogurt and sprinkled with mint and cilantro alongside some herbed rice and a cucumber salad. All hail the returning of the light!

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